Reading the 60 Blog

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Bringing wine to your book club is a great way to make up for not reading the book.

Have you ever had an issue with an item purchased on Amazon?  After all these years, I just encountered my first issue.  I ordered a book at the end of June and Amazon tells me it was delivered on July 11.  I never got it!

We’re assigned Into the Water by Paula Hawkins to read for book club, meeting a week from Sunday.  I’ve been diligently checking my mailbox for the book and it hasn’t arrived.  My brain has been slow the last few days, and yesterday was the first day I thought to follow-up with the Amazon seller.

Amazon gives you the opportunity to contact the seller with a 250-character note, but you must also leave feedback (one-to-five stars) and inform Amazon whether the seller has been prompt in his/her response.  How are you supposed to answer those questions when you haven’t contact the seller yet?  I didn’t want to give the seller zero stars, so I gave her three (a fair rating), but how is that fair?  She could be home Tuesday evening furiously searching for her proofs of delivery and I’ll have an answer in no time.  Or not.  We’ll see.

No response from the seller on Wednesday and I’m not sure I’ll have enough time to read the book eight days.  Do I try to get it out of the library?  Will my book club members feel sorry for me?  Will they even care if I show up for lunch next week and don’t speak?

I need to go buy some wine.



Convicting the 60 Blog

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Al Gore called this the “unofficial anthem of the environmental movement” when Loggins performed it on Earth Day in 1995 at The National Mall in Washington, D.C. The song has become one of Kenny Loggins’ signature tunes.

We saw Kenny Loggins in concert last night, accompanied by the Pacific Symphony.  The first 30 minutes was the symphony itself, which was beautiful.  They played some jazz and some pop music (“The Lion Sings Tonight!”) and encouraged the audience to sing along.  Many of the concert-goers seemed to be there just for Kenny, so they didn’t get in the symphonic spirit; I thought it was terrific!

Kenny then came out with some band members, backed up by the symphony.  As Kenny explained, his music takes on a whole new sound and meaning when it’s backed by an orchestra and I was thrilled with the combination.

He started the night with a story about “Danny’s Song” and the new verse he wrote now that he’s a grandfather.  (You could truly hear the audience gasp!  Just yesterday, I asked Alexa how old Kenny was and I was surprised to learn he is 69.  When we followed him around 30 years ago, we were all in our late 20s/early 30s, and he was 40.)  Now Kenny’s son has a son and he wrote a new verse, which is so new that I couldn’t yet find it on Google!

He sang other classics, including his famous movie soundtracks, and “Conviction of the Heart,” a B side song from his 1991 Leap of Faith album.  The song is still extremely relevant:

One with the earth, with the sky
One with everything in life
I believe we’ll survive
If we only try…

How long must we wait to change
This world bound in chains that we live in
To know what it is to forgive,
And be forgiven?

It’s been too many years of taking now.
Isn’t it time to stop somehow?
Air that’s too angry to breathe, water our children can’t drink
You’ve heard it hundreds of times

You say you’re aware, believe, and you care, but…
Do you care enough
To talk with Conviction of the Heart?

He ended the night with “Forever” and we were afraid he wasn’t going to hit the last high note.  He modified the key a bit from the early days (30 years ago) and he still sounded terrific!  Kenny Loggins, still going strong at the young age of 69.


Boosting the 60 Blog

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Pharrell Williams:  It’s not possible to experience constant euphoria, but if you’re grateful, you can find happiness in everything.

How do you boost your spirits?  Do you need to make yourself happier often?  When you’re stressed or sad, it’s easier to bury your head in the sand and go back to bed.  After my morning shower, at least a couple of times a week, I just lay back down and take a little nap before realizing my hair will be too frizzy or too flat if I just keep it wrapped in a towel. Good thing that could happen or I might sleep for another two or three hours.

One proven idea to make you happier is to get back on the coloring book bandwagon; the adult coloring craze is still going strong.  A 2017 study in the Art Therapy journal found the act of coloring an image lowered anxiety and improved mood.

How often do you express gratitude?  Daily gratitude can make us happier, but the average person runs out of things to say they’re grateful for.  Michelle Gielan, the author of Broadcasting Happiness, advises that we focus on unique, specific, small stuff.  There are many small things to be thankful for, even if it’s a flower in your neighbor’s yard.

Do you have a bucket list?  How about a buddy to do those bucket list things with?  According to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, spending money on life experiences can bring you happiness, and it’s even better when you share them with someone.  Anyone want to kiss the Blarney Stone with me someday?

Social media can either boost your mood or drive it south….and that can likely happen with minutes!  Take an assessment of how you feel when you’re checking Facebook or Instagram.  Supported and connected?  Then log on and feel the love!  If social media tends to bring out negative emotions, step away for a few hours or a few days.  It will be good for you.

The last thing you want to hear when you’re sad or mad is “smile!” but it really does help.  If you make yourself smile while recalling happy memories, you can improve your mood.





Ranting the 60 Blog

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J.S. Park:  Many times we think someone is ranting, but they’re actually speaking with conviction:  and everyone has just forgotten the sound of real passion.  We’re so afraid of absolutes and a strong gut and digging in your heels, that we dismiss the powerful voice of a lonely fighter.

I recently read a blog by Alison, A Pierman Sister, which seems to agree with a lot of what I’ve been saying and writing and thinking the last few months.  With permission, I’m posting parts of her last post:

This is not a rant. This is an anti-rant. This is a rant against rants.  I have never had a bumper sticker. I bare no tattoos. My friends and family–who are gay, straight and all races–cover the political spectrum and all mainstream religions. 

Don’t get me wrong. I have opinions and persuasions but only those in my Circle of Trust have to hear about it.  (Alison, you read my mind!)  I get my world news from sources other than social media and I DON’T CARE WHO OR WHAT YOU HATE.

Now, Alison proposes that her future posts will only fall into some of the following favorite categories.  I may not agree with all of them (see number 1), yet I see her point.

Fabulous Favs 
1.   alive and thriving cats, dogs, goats, bunnies and horses, oh, and sloths of course
2.   family (including aforementioned animals)
3.   fat babies
4.   vacations/travel
5.   tributes to aged persons
6.   beautiful or intriguing photos
7.   poetry and literature
8.   your likes/comments on my own fascinating posts 
9.   new gadgets and inventions I need (I’m talking to you, updated Fanny Pack) (Me?  I never want to be seen in a fanny pack again!)
10.  funny stuff (oh, you’ll know)

Topics to be forbidden from her future posts are:

Fanatically Forbidden 
1.   political/anti-religious rants
2.   bigotry
3.   work-out videos (that’s just hateful)

Alison summarizes her blog M.O. as this:

In summary, I’m old. Life is too short for vitriolic whiners. If you don’t like something, try changing it with construct or with your vote next cycle. If you hate [FILL IN THE BLANK] and you want to force your cyber-friends to hear you rage about it, I will simply being seeing less of you.

Alison has indeed read my mind.  If you’d like to read more of her musings, while still reading my pearls, you can follow Alison here:  A Pierman Sister blog  Tell her Caryn sent you.

Singing the 60 Blog

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Kenny Loggins:  And even though we ain’t got money, I’m so in love with ya honey. And everything will bring a chain of love.  And in the morning when I rise, you bring a tear of joy to my eyes, And tell me everything is gonna be alright.

I took today off.  Lunch with some friends.  Dentist.  Shopping and preparation for hosting bunco tonight.  A four-day week this week.  Three days next week..  Four days the following week.  I’m attending a concert on a weeknight and I’m not 25 any more.  I scheduled the day off so I could relax during the day.  Take my time getting to the venue.  Park close.  Take my time getting to my seat.

Back in my 20s and 30s, a small group of us would attend concerts all the time.  Once or twice a month during the spring and summer months.  And this was before you could buy your tickets online, so we’d camp out in front of Tower Records waiting to spend our cash on tickets from the clerk, who probably didn’t know some of the artists appearing that season.

Now, Kenny Loggins is appearing at one of the concerts during the two weeks of the Orange County Fair.  We’ve probably seen him in concert two dozen times, including a trip to Laughlin and other points south and north.  In his Footloose heyday, Kenny was touring everywhere and we’d follow him everywhere we could.  He would recognize us if we sat close to the front rows, we’d sing “back up” during Danny’s Song.  We had our own way of letting Kenny know that we were in the audience when he sang this:

Love the girl who holds the world in a paper cup, drink it up,
Love her and she’ll bring you luck.
And if you find she helps your mind, buddy, take her home,
Don’t you live alone, try to earn what lovers own.

Oh, it’s a secret, and I can’t tell you how we did it, but one time, Kenny stopped dead in the middle of the song.  He knew we were there and it was a moment we will never forget.  Maybe he’ll remember us again on the 12th.  We’ll see how brave we are 25 years later.  How many of you can say you interrupted a concert?


Discussing the 60 Blog

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Mary Archer:  I hope to live long and be happy. But I’d like to be remembered as somebody who did good rather than mischief.

The creative minds at our book club came up with eight little stories again yesterday.  The two members who couldn’t make it will be disappointed when they read the short stories we wrote after discussing our book, All The Missing Girls.

Shannon, our hostess, had us start our short stories with the following prompt:  summer memories.  And away we went:

No. 1:  I was sitting on the porch thinking about my high school years and I immediately started to sweat.
No. 2:  I was so popular in high school, the girls hated me.  They were so jealous.  But now I’m president of the United States!

No. 1:  Summer is the best time.  It was the first time I got laid.
No. 2:  That was awesome, but then I found out I was pregnant!

No. 1:  I swung my legs over the edge of the wall and into the cool water.  In the distance, I heard kids splashing on the beach.
No. 2:  I leaned back, the sun warm on my face, thinking about a cool glass of lemonade.  I leaned back further and oops!  I fell off!

No. 1:  The sun was blazing down on the brilliant water as I sat on the bow of the boat, legs dangling….
No. 2:  And all these baby sharks swam up and started nibbling on my toes.  I loved it!

No. 1:  My dad gave me a buck to go to the five-and-dime to buy three ice cream cones.  By the time I got home, they melted all down my arms.
No. 2:  Mom took one look at me, shaking her head as she tried to hide her smile and told me to hit the pool and rinse off.

No. 1:  Summer of ’75, I was a counselor for the camp kids.  Another counselor hung Billy up by his t-shirt from a tree.
No. 2:  I didn’t come forward immediately, but I did join a group standing up for Billy.  Not a proud moment.

No. 1:  One summer, I fell hard for my brother’s friend Al.  He looked just like John Travolta.  My heart beat fast…
No. 2:  …as he joined the line-dance, his cowboy boots stomping on the floor.  Too bad he was married.

No. 1:  My favorite summer memory is playing with cousins in Grandpa’s yard.  Then I fell over the clothesline pole and things changed.
No. 2:  Breaking my leg made my summer swelteringly hot as I had to wear a full leg cast and could not swim, play, or get into mischief.

It seems that half of us like exclamation marks, and all of our summer memories involve some kind of mischief.  What about you?



Reflecting the 60 Blog

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People born in the 50s have lived in seven decades, two centuries, and two milleniums.  We had the best music, fastest cars, drive-in theaters, soda fountains, and happy days.  And we are not even that old yet.  We’re just that cool.

I visited with some childhood friends this weekend.  We’ve known each other about 45 years and I often reflect on how much we’ve changed, yet how much things remain the same.

Other than family members, can you name anyone in your life that you’ve known most, if not all, of your life?  I’m proud to say I have a few that I’ve known more than three-quarters of my life.  Plus, I have several important people in my life who are younger than me, and I have known them since they were born.

The greatest-girl-on-earth, Marissa, turned 30 last week.  30.  I remember the day she was born, her childhood days, her high school drama, her college graduation, her marriage and divorce, and her total awesomeness.  When I was 30, I was proud to have money in my 401(k) retirement account.  I can’t recall much else that was award-worthy.  Oh, I had a steady job, an apartment with Leslie, a car, a string of certifications indicating that I was good at my job.  Nothing to be ashamed about.

Marissa is another ball-of-wax.  She has the world ahead of her, she’s brilliant, and has a creative streak a mile wide.  She can do anything and will do everything.  And I couldn’t be more proud.  She has friends today that were friends in elementary school, and I want to encourage her to keep those friends forever.  Those friends will always be useful, even if she just uses them to write an ordinary blog post.


Complaining the 60 Blog

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Lynn Marie Sager:  People are always complaining that life’s not fair, but that simply isn’t true.  Life is extraordinarily fair.  It’s just not centered on you.

Are you aware of how often you complain during the day?  Do you complain out loud to others?  The weather, the traffic, the line at Starbucks.  All fair game for complaints and comments about how things should go your way more often.

I recently learned of an app called Complaint Free .  The goal is to go 21 consecutive days without complaining, gossiping or criticizing.  You start on Day 1.  Every time you catch yourself complaining, enter the type of complaint and who you complained to, and the app will reset to Day 1.  The app tells you that it takes most people about six months to complete 21 days without complaining.  “When you reach day 21, you will be a happier, more positive and habitually complaint-free person.”

Complaining is an ingrained habit and I want to change that habit.  I started the countdown on Sunday.  Through Monday, I didn’t complain out loud to anyone.  I did complain about some knee pain, but only using my inside-my-head voice, so I’m not going to add that to the app and have it reset to Day 1.  No way!

What do you think?  Is complaining always a bad thing?  On my drive home from work on Tuesday night, I blurted out “a$$hole” to the driver in front of me on the freeway because he did something stupid.  Why else would I curse him out?  Tee hee.  Anyway, if I’m grousing because someone is an idiot, and I’m saying this only to myself, for the sake of the Complaint Free app, did I do anything wrong?

A few days ago, Leslie told me she saw an enormous bug (“Monster”) in the house, and she does not like bugs!  Clooney, Leslie’s cat who should be eating all the bugs, just looked at it and let it escape.  And last night, the damn bug reappeared.  It was the first time I’d seen it and I swear it was two inches long!  I swiped at it several times on the counter tops to no avail, and it then ran under a cabinet.  Not one to get on my hands and knees, I left Monster there, and it showed up an hour later scooting to get cover under the couch.  Clooney excitedly watched and, as of this morning, we still don’t know where Monster is.

Monster, this unwelcome force of nature in my house, is causing me stress.  Do I dare vocalize that he’s creepy and I want him dead?  If I say it out loud, am I complaining?  Do I need to reset to day 1?



Co-working the 60 Blog

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I wish we worked together so we could hate the same coworkers.

I have a friend who worked with a very toxic person and the atmosphere in her office was always negative.  My friend’s coworker is now gone from that office, and I’m told that everyone is now happy and cooperative during the workday.  How can a negative person bring you down, along with everyone else in your vicinity? How have you managed to keep your cool around someone who complains all the time and tries to sabotage you and your work?

I refer back to my Acquainting the 60 Blog post of earlier this week.  Can you truly put in a good day’s work when you’re working alongside a good friend?  Or are you coworkers from 9 to 5 and then friends on the weekends?  Or does that make you acquaintances? Can you separate the two?

I’m torn.  Many years ago, when I first moved to California, I didn’t have a car; I had to take several buses to get to work.  Every once in a while, a coworker would generously offer to drive me to or from work.  (I specifically remember a ride home in a DeLorean!) A couple of times, I was offered a ride by the office manager.  We didn’t socialize at any other time, but it was all about the perception.

The office manager was asked by her boss to not drive me home any more because it was perceived we were friends and I might have been given special treatment in the workplace.  That was far from the case, unless “special treatment” meant “let me help you save a few bucks on bus fare.”

My friend mentioned above told me of something that happened about two years ago in that office.  The office manager at the time and this particular (now gone) coworker went to lunch almost every day.  It really was nothing more than the two of them walking across the street to go shopping or buy a sandwich, but the perception was that they were sharing work secrets.

Maybe they were, and maybe that eventually led to both of them no longer working at the firm.  It’s a hard choice to make.

All I can say is Keurig is my favorite coworker!